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Normal Hunger Pains or Undereating?


I've been a long-time lurker on these forums and have found a real wealth of information about nutrition but I was wondering how everyone here, when trying to lean out, deals with hunger? I know it's all about self-control but sometimes I wonder if the amount to which it bothers me means I'm drastically undereating.

I'm a 20-year old female and I play club soccer and train for powerlifting. I practice for 2.5 hours on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays lift on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If I get the time I go in to do some recovery work / work on flexibility 1-2 times per week.

I recently got my body fat taken (with skin calipers) and was pretty bummed out by the results, 28% body fat. I don't feel like I look that way and most everyone was surprised by the number. That last statement is just me trying to make myself feel better, so to be actually proactive I've been trying for the past month to control what I'm eating. I'm 5'8 and weigh 170-180, it really seems to vary on the day, though I do weigh myself at the same time everyday.

A day's eating usually looks something like:

Total Water: ~90 oz

Breakfast (8:00 AM) - 1 cup oats, mix with vanilla yogurt and 1tbsp peanut butter and banana OR 2 cups Bran Flakes with 1.5 cups skim milk and banana.

Snack (10:00) - Varies but often 6 Crackers w/ PB OR a protein bar, OR a handful of trail mix (Peanuts, Almonds, Raisins)

Lunch (12:00) - 6-inch Subway Sub on wheat bread w/ Roast Beef, Turkey, Ham, Green Peppers, Spinach, tomatoes, banana peppers, olives. Fruit, either apple or banana.

Lifting 1:00-2:30

Post-Workout - Muscle Milk (I often have these because my friend's dad gives her these all the time and she doesn't drink them so I get them for free)

Practice 5:00-7:30

Dinner (8:00) - 1.5 cups Home-made healthy stir-fry, Chicken, rice, peppers, broccoli, carrots, teriyaki sauce.

I want to be done eating at this point, but I'm usually absolutely starving again in 30 minutes to an hour...or I'm just still hungry immediately after and I'll eat something shitty! This is a recurring theme through the day, I feel like I'm hungry 24/7 even after having just eaten and I'm preoccupied with thoughts of food.

I am losing body fat, which is nice, but I don't know how long I can keep it up. Another question, how do you guys measure the calories / macro breakdown of foods you make yourself (Such as my stir fry or other recipes I make)? I know I should invest in a scale.

I figure I need to just suck it up and deal with it; but what are some things that you all do to get through it? Thank you so much for any advice.


2 thoughts: you may be dehydrated even though i do see that you showed your total water consumption. Sometimes hunger is not hunger at all, but dehydration.

Also you should be hungry. You have a huge gap of time from when you finish lifting and have your post lifting shake to eating after practice. Think about it 2:30 muscle milk and nothing until after 7:30 and on top of it all you toss in what essentially is your second work out of the day (practice).

If you are not looking to eat more (I think you should get another small healthy snack in there) switch your 10 am snack to just before you practice where you can utilize it rather than at 10 am where the nutrients are just sitting idle.


I thought drinking about 90 ounces was pretty good? I guess I never really thought about it, but when I don't consciously make a decision to drink a lot of water through the day I'll only do 32oz so 90 seems like a lot to me. I'll try upping that to ~130.

I eat the snack at 10:00 AM because I'm usually really hungry again an hour after breakfast, sometimes sooner.

Yeah that is a pretty big gap, I'm usually at work around then so I'm busy enough that it's not necessarily the front thought in my mind. I do notice it at practice though. I'll try to bring another muscle milk / shake to drink during that time, an extra 200 calories shouldn't kill my diet.


just posted this in another thread

a vitamin E deficiency can cause hunger issues. it may be placebo but i've been taking 800 IU's a day and noticed im not as hungry any more

and you'd probably want a "mixed tocopherols" blend

also it would help if you posted your height/weight, if you're losing weight, gaining weight total calories and any other info you may have left out


Couple thoughts:

DON'T weigh yourself every day, I find it to be counter-productive because your weight fluctuates and that time frame isn't a great indicator. Change it to once a week.

You should be hungry as mentioned, but do you actually know how many calories you are consuming? I'm guessing not, if you don't have a scale (this is fairly important).

I woudl suggest cottage cheese in the evenings if you're still hungry, it tends to fill me up quite a bit.


My height and weight is in that jumbled mess of words but I'm 5'8 and 170-180, it really does vary a lot.

I have been losing weight and have been trying to aim ~1800 calories per day but it can be hard to get precise because I have no idea how many calories / macros are in my own recipes.


Drop the snack at 10 am and make your dinner larger. Also, do something besides stir fry for dinner, as that stuff is only filling when it's full of deep fried sweet and sour pork.


What kind of junk do you eat 30 minutes after dinner?

I get hungry too when losing fat, and it also sometimes gets distracting. To a certain extent it's unavoidable.

But also consider tweaking your meal timing. I've heard it argued that the body can be "trained" to be hungry at various times... but I find that there are certain times of day when I'm going to be hungry no matter what. for instance, if I try to eat breakfast at 7am, I may have to force it down, but then I'm going to be hungry at 9-10am anyway, so that early breakfast essentially did nothing to help my hunger. Also, I've learned I'm going to get hungry at 4-5pm no matter what I do. Maybe shift meals around so you eat during the hungry times.

Sometimes I'll still be ravenous immediately after eating. If I can wait it out an hour or so, it's usually better.

Also, eat more beef, just on general principle.


Same ol' story. Too many carbs. Not enough protein, fat.


I figured stir-fry was a good combo, it's just like what I'd eat normally - rice/noodles, chicken and vegetables, but mixed together and made more appetizing. When I don't have that around it's usually chicken / sweet potatoes, home-made spaghetti with a ton of beef and vegetables or hamburgers with fruit / vegetables or potatoes.

I can drop the 10 am snack, though it is like torture to go that long since I usually wake up ravenous, eat breakfast, continue to be hungry, eat lunch, still hungry...etc...vicious cycle.

My roommate couldn't give 2 shits about nutrition and has a ton of junk around the house and it's killer resisting it. When I do give in it's something like a hotdog or a couple oreos or just more of what I usually eat, like peanut butter crackers or trail mix.

Yeah it's good to hear everyone say 'yeah you get hungry it sucks' because at least I know I'm not like super under eating and starving myself.

I usually am still pretty hungry after every meal and it gets annoying. It's mostly the worst at night when I'm at home and have everything around me.

Can do!

The way I've always understood it is that I need the carbs so I don't die during soccer practice. True though I could probably use more protein.

Thanks for all the comments everyone!


hmmm. You do a lot of exercise, but 28% is pretty high. If you think 28% is wrong. Get retested.

here's a pretty good link on food exchanges.


Maybe add in some low fat cottage cheese in the evening and a protein shake in the day.

Throw out the crackers..

Oh muscle milk makes a cookie dough flavored shake thats like a desert. This might help with your cookie cravings/ roommate situation.


And FAT! C'mon, you know better than to be so fat-phobic...